Hi. Welcome to the site. Please check out the About Us, and if you have a question about crime and/or punishment, perhaps look at some previous questions along those lines first.
Welcome to Anarchy101 Q&A, where you can ask questions and receive answers about anarchism, from anarchists.

Categories

+1 vote
I currently serve as local union president where I work. This is not a full time position and I can't do union business on company time. I was elected to this position and I'm compensated for lost time. I also receive a small salary of about $50 a week because as I mentioned I do this job strictly on my free time. Is this unacceptable as an anarchist?
by
i think only you can know if the experiences and relationships you engage in within that role feel acceptable to you.
@bornagainantichrist

Thanks for the reply. I figured I would hear that. It does feel acceptable to me in several ways. For instance it feels good to stick it the company on behalf of the worker. Every fight we embark on costs them big money. I'm not a passive union rep. My style is extremely militant as opposed to some phony union rep who only use it to climb the corporate ladder. However, I do question many things. For example the small salary I receive. Also I use government agencies like the NLRB to make life hard for the company. My term is up next month and the bargaining unit has asked me to stay on as president, of course no one else will do the job. I'm just not sure if this is actually working for or against anarchist values.
my pleasure, Nogov.

ahhh....no one has yet referred to me as "antichrist".... :)

though the juxtaposition with the "bornagain" certainly seems more pronounced, i think i'll stick with anarchist for now.

perhaps you could think about what anarchist values you desire and how your work reflects them (or not).

i don't want to take part in elections, nor do i want someone to represent me (or for me to represent another) in job related matters, so i haven't involved myself in a situation like yours. i imagine you could have opportunities to act in a lot of different ways, depending on the people and structures in place.

i tend to primarily use my feelings (do i feel excited, frustrated, angered, apathetic, etc.) as a guide to whether or not i want to continue with a certain activity (or alter it in some way)....at least as a starting point, and then i try to think it through critically....and then perhaps mull it over with a few trusted friends....then i make a move (or not), and go through the cycle again. i don't know how well that approach would work for you, but it does for me most of the time (sometimes all hell just breaks loose and i wind up somewhere else).

edited: clarity
@bornagainanarchist

Damn spellcheck
fwiw, i took no offense to the antichrist moniker...it made me laugh.

1 Answer

0 votes
i don't understand these questions that ask "is it ok"?

no one can determine whether something is ok for you or not but you, ultimately.
if the question is: can i do anarchist things as a union member... in my opinion it is just like other jobs. it is neither more nor less anarchist than any other social work job, and in fact qualifies as such.

http://anarchy101.org/652/what-sort-wage-labor-employment-would-tolerable-anarchists

http://anarchy101.org/6924/what-kinds-of-jobs-do-anarchists-usually-take-up

http://anarchy101.org/9695/possible-anarchist-social-worker-so-how-would-one-go-about-it#c9700
by (52.8k points)
I'm still very new to the concept(s) of anarchism. I suppose asking if something's ok does seem a little silly because as you stated only I can decide this. This is part of the reason I'm exploring anarchism, it really forces me to look at myself and then make those critical evaluations. I believe that I can do anarchist things within my role as a union member/official. It actually helps me feel that I'm doing something positive even though my current situation essentially forces me to work within the Capatilist system. After all, isn't the advancement of workers rights a central theme within anarchism?
Nogov: "After all, isn't the advancement of workers rights a central theme within anarchism? "

not for me. i wish to abolish the notion of "workers".
@bornagainanarchist

I hear you there. Tough decision, for me.
the decision to not work (meaning jobs or business for money) felt easy...perhaps i had worked so long (over 20 years) that i simply couldn't take it any more.

but acting on it i find tougher - the state, the monetary system, and most people i meet don't exactly make it easy, for a variety of reasons. but basically, i do as little work as i possibly can, while i look for ways to do even less and still meet my needs for food and shelter.
@bornagainanarchist

Found this quote on these forums just now. Maybe it's something I should consider. It speaks volumes!

"Since 1936 I have fought for wage increases.
My father before me fought for wage increases.
Now I have a TV, a fridge, a Volkswagen.
Yet my whole life has been a drag.
Don’t negotiate with the bosses. Abolish them. "
i remember reading that somewhere here. i like it! i hope you enjoy your travels here, Nogov. i've really enjoyed the time i've spent on this site - lots of thought-provoking conversations and people.
nogov, i think you're asking the right questions.
whether workers power is a central theme or not depends on which anarchist you talk to. there is a classic (reviled in some quarters) called The Abolition of Work, by bob black ( http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/bob-black-the-abolition-of-work ) that is the most cogent (to date) rebuttal of the idea that workers should be the cornerstone of a vision of a new society.
from a whole other direction, there a very different kind of challenge in the book Nihilist Communism (the authors of which are not anarchist, fwtw).
and regarding unions in particular there is a book called Unions Against Revolution that speaks directly to unions' roles in managing (ie directing and constraining) workers' desires vs empowering them. that doesn't mean that some appealing reform can't come from doing things through unions, only that working within unions is not anarchist in the sense that it will not break the system.
(but then, what will?)
Damn you people! Can't you just tell me what I want to hear or just tell me what to think. Kidding of course. If that's what I really wanted I certainly would not be here. I've been conditioned for so long to go along with the program and to think however they tell me to, they being people who I think have been looking out for my best interest, the Union, Democrats, Liberals etc. Its refreshing to actually think for myself, which is exactly what you folks are making me do. For that I thank all of you! I'm quite certain about the final decision that I'll make about the topic in question. I'm realizing that reform is not something I really want to be part of, or at least an accomplice to. This feels so good!
...